Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Delaware Law School Dean weighs in on brewing Gorsuch confirmation battle

Senate Democrats are considering whether they should try to block President Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.


But a legal expert in Delaware warns obstruction could be a mistake.




Widener University Delaware Law School Dean Rod Smolla says it may be wise that Delaware’s two U.S. Senators, Chris Coons and Tom Carper have decided to give Judge Neil Gorsuch a fair confirmation hearing. 


His reasoning is simple. If they fight the confirmation, they’ll lose.


“This Republican Senate can’t let 41 Democrats block this appointment and they won’t. So, if pushed to it, they’ll play out this option of ending the filibuster and ending the 60 vote matter,” Smolla said. 


If Republicans use the so-called nuclear option, they’ll be able to confirm Gorsuch with a simple majority, which they have.


And Smolla says once Republicans use the nuclear option they'll be able to confirm the next nominee by a simple majority, when the court's ideological balance could be at stake. 


He adds, if you’re thinking in pure political terms, Gorsuch's confirmation isn't ripe for a political battle. The conservative judge is highly qualified and he won’t shift the court’s ideological balance since he’s replacing right-leaning Antonin Scalia.


Smolla said a good case can be made for Senate Democrats to save their fight for a nominee who threatens to tip the court’s balance to the right, and when they may be able to rally more support to block a nomination.

Related Content